Trend shows job growth outpacing population growth in Dayton region

Dayton Development Coalition, Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission working to complete a future economic development strategy for region.



Regional job growth has outpaced local population growth in the last decade, and the trend could continue for the next five to 10 years, posing challenges for employers and the economy.

“It’s absolutely a risk for the region,” said Julie Sullivan, executive vice president of regional development with the Dayton Development Coalition.

Between 2012 and 2021, the population of the 13-county region increased 2.5% to 1,884,476 residents, according to data shared during a presentation by the Dayton Development Coalition and the Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission.

During the same period, employment in the region increased 4.6% to about 857,640 jobs, say the data.

The region includes Butler, Champaign, Clark, Greene, Miami, Montgomery, Warren, Auglaize, Clinton, Darke, Mercer, Preble and Shelby counties.

The Dayton Development Coalition and the Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission are working to complete a Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy, which is a strategy-driven plan for regional economic development.

The strategy includes a variety of data points that highlight some of the region’s strengths and challenges.

Between 2021 and 2025, the Dayton region is expected to see a 1.3% increase in population but a 1.8% increase in jobs, according to the coalition.

Population is the single most important factor in determining the size and composition of the labor force, which is the number of people working or looking for work, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Communities across the nation are facing potential labor shortages as the workforce ages and birth rates drop, said Sullivan.

The region must find ways to develop, attract and retain talent, and its workforce, she said. Other priorities focus on infrastructure, vibrant communities, small business and entrepreneurship and a resilient economy.

Credit: Contributed

Credit: Contributed

Workforce partners are helping support job-seekers by ensuring they have the skills and training they need to meet the needs of local industries, Sullivan said, and K-12 partners are increasingly focusing on establishing career pathways to build important skills at an early age.

Sullivan said the goal is to create a talent pipeline that meets the needs of regional employers.

The region has clear strengths, including an affordable cost of living and good quality of life, she said, and vibrant communities fare well at talent attraction and retention.

“We have to show we offer not just jobs, but a career path for people to move here and want to stay long-term,” she said. “We also need to help people connect to their community to build the ties that keep people here.”

Stronger job growth than population growth can have some upsides.

If demand for labor outstrips the supply, wages should go up, which is good for workers though it means employers will have higher payroll costs, said Bruce Weinberg, a professor with The Ohio State University’s Department of Economics.

“Certainly very rapid demand growth can lead to social problems,” he said, “... but moderate growth in demand relative to supply should attract people from other parts of the country and may well induce more people to work.”

He continued, “For instance, more retirees may take up jobs, frequently part-time.”



Employment projections by the Ohio Labor Market Information say that the number of jobs in West Ohio is expected to increase 0.6% between 2018 and 2028.

This area consists of 12 counties: Auglaize, Champaign, Clark, Clinton, Darke, Greene, Fayette, Mercer, Miami, Montgomery, Preble and Shelby counties.

Ohio has six JobsOhio regions in the state, and West Ohio’s projected job growth exceeds all but Central Ohio’s (5.2% growth) and Southwest Ohio’s (+2.5%).

Industries expected to see the most robust growth in West Ohio include health care and social assistance (+10.5%), construction (+8.9%), professional, technical and legal services (+7.4%) and transportation and warehousing (+7.1%).

Sectors expected to see the largest employment losses include state government (-8%), retail (-4%), information (-3.9%) and manufacturing (-3.8%), the job outlook projections say.

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